Laura Aull’s American Generalizations: The Development and Dangers of the Essay, 1910-2010 aims to offer a corpus-driven look at the relationship between 20th century American generalist essays and the use of overly generalized/universalized claims in U.S. public and student writing today. To do so, the project will (1) explore how the 20th century general readership magazine essay developed and helped construct a set of shared U.S. beliefs and ideas, (2) analyze patterns in generalized/ universalized markers in published essays in Google books, COHA, and COCA, and in college student writing, and (3) consider related implications for the continued popularity of the generalist essay as a tool for American learning and public debate.


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